Why Everyone Was Meant to be "Fat"
There is a generally held belief that being fat is bad for you. Obesity leads to heart disease, diabetes, and disorders of nearly every important organ in the body. But not all fat people are obese, there is just a much broader terminology for "fat" now, thanks to American advertising.
Models in America have taken on a whole new meaning than what the profession was initially designed for. A model of any object is designed to represent what the rest of those objects will be like. If a model car, meaning the ones you see in the commercials, didn't look anything like the one you bought at the dealership, then you would feel betrayed and unsatisfied. And that's exactly what the majority of Americans are feeling about their body.
Americans see these models that are intensely skinny and airbrushed to seem perfect, and assume that's what beauty is. Another role of models is to make a statement about what should be considered physically appealing. Americans have learned to strive to be skinny, and fear any hint of fat on your body. But this is worse than obesity, it's even more dangerous.
Why is Fat Important?
Fat is crucial for the same amount of reasons it's dangerous. It is a source of energy, so people feel awake and eager throughout the day. It keeps your body functioning at the best possible degree, if you are neither skinny nor obese. At a deeper level, the appropriate amount of fat will protect your organs and, even deeper, protect every cell. So trying to avoid fat will directly damage your body.
How many hours do you spend per day watching TV?
The Effect of Advertising
It's frightening how much advertising most people are exposed to. The average American watches over four hours of television per day, and commercials take up almost half of that. Some ads are shown so often that they are memorized without the viewer even realizing it. Think of how many jingles you have gotten stuck in your head, or how many little sections of dialogue that you could recite by heart.
When most fashion models appearing in commercials are skinny and wearing barely any clothing, it's easy to understand how many kids grow up to think of that as the ideal woman. They are exposed to her image for multiple hours every day, in a style similar to brainwashing.
Israel actually placed a ban on models that are dangerously skinny, because it's dangerous for everyone's health. The model is starving herself, and the people who read the magazine she is in will try to starve themselves too. Just look at what the film Killing Us Softly 4 has to say about how advertising affects women.
Killing us Softly 4
The Nigerian "Fattening Room"
The Fattening Room
- A diet of strictly yams, rice, and beans while in isolation for months
- The new physique is celebrated as her step into womanhood
- Can also occur after news of pregnancy
- Additional weight is a sign of good health and happiness
In Nigeria, obesity is a sign of power because it shows how much food you can afford, as well as how much exercise you don't have to do. The overweight women are also celebrated because it is presumed that they will give birth to, as well as raise children better. Food is celebrated for all the joy it brings and all the nutrition it contains.
There is an ancient rite of passage that all girls must go through to be considered women. These teenage girls are placed in a "fattening room" and forced to eat and lounge all day for months. The girl eats yams, plantains, rice and beans for every meal in the hopes of making her fat. After remaining as still and as comfortable as possible, the girl comes out of the room a woman and is celebrated for her new physique. The culture is also very active and enjoys daily rituals of singing and dancing, so the women are rarely obese. They celebrate food for all the wonderful things it gives us, and therefore don't suffer from romanticizing it like we do. There is even a dancing ceremony immediately after the woman exits the fattening room, proud of her new appearance. Which, as you see, is far from obese.
Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA)
Olive oil, avocados and peanut butter
Fish and nuts
Lowers risk of heart disease
Nutrients that help develop cells
Lowers blood pressure, source of energy
In ancient Egypt, abundance was the definition of power. Pharaohs were literally considered living Gods, and to prove their worth there were entire pyramids built in their honor. They didn't just enjoy wealth and slaves in abundance, but also food.
Egyptians ate mostly wheat and vegetables, but tried to eat as much as they could for the same reasons Nigerians overate. Actually, this reasoning for overeating is the quintessential reason that nearly every society faces.
Look to the sumo wrestlers of Japan, who were celebrities of their society because of their size.
Look to the kings of ancient Rome.
Look to the kings of England.
The rich overeat to prove that they can.
Can you imagine? What if the fattest Americans were idolized opposed to the skinniest? What if food wasn't some horrible necessity, but a beautiful gift of nature? Our fear of eating is what led to eating disorders, including... wait for it... over eating!
We fear food, and so like an intimidating shadow, food becomes powerful in ways it shouldn't. When we do inevitably eat, we eat rapidly and eagerly like it's a beast we need to conquer. Then we still hope to be skinny like the models you see on TV.
History is important for two reasons: We look to the successes in history and to the failures, and try to learn from both. So let's learn from the Nigerians, from the Egyptians, from the Romans and the English. Eat because it is a natural right. Eat because of the nutrients that keep you active. And if nothing else, eat because food is freaking awesome!